6,052: Curricula-Definition of Certificate Program-Undergraduate

Revised: November 2021

Undergraduate certificate programs are offered for academic credit by some departments/colleges and provide a free-standing credential, preparation for professional licensure, or an adjunct area of study to a degree-seeking student's academic major.

Undergraduate certificate programs are defined as those consisting of undergraduate coursework. Undergraduate certificate programs that require a baccalaureate degree for admissions are designated as post-baccalaureate certificate programs.

Certificate Purposes - Undergraduate certificate programs should meet one or more of the following educational needs:

1. Provide specialized professional training in a comparatively brief time frame;
2. Provide specialized professional training that leads to licensure by an outside agency (e.g. teacher licensure);
3. Provide a curriculum focused more on applied knowledge than research; and/or
4. Provide a curriculum that complements a particular undergraduate program.

Undergraduate certificate programs must meet the Northwest Accreditation Standards

Standard 1.C Student Learning:

1.C.1 The institution offers programs, with appropriate content and rigor that are consistent with its mission; culminate in achievement of clearly identified student learning outcomes that lead to collegiate-level degrees, certificates or credentials and include designators consistent with program content in recognized fields of study.

1.C.2 The institution awards credit, degrees, certificates, or credentials for programs that are based upon student learning and learning outcomes that offer an appropriate breadth, depth, sequencing, and synthesis of learning.

1.C.3 The institution identifies and publishes expected program; and degree learning outcomes for all degrees, certificates, and credentials. Information on expected student learning outcomes for all courses is provided to enrolled students.

Therefore, undergraduate certificate programs should have the following characteristics:

a. A curriculum that is appropriate in breadth, depth, sequencing of courses and total number of credits,
b. Identified program learning outcomes,
c. A plan for annual assessment,
d. A minimum of nine credit hours,
e. A minimum of six credit hours of upper-division coursework, and
f. At least three credit hours of upper-division coursework completed in residence (including University of Nevada, Reno online courses).

Admissions Requirements - All students completing undergraduate certificate programs must be admitted to the University of Nevada, Reno as undergraduate students.

Financial Aid Eligibility - Students who are enrolled in a baccalaureate degree-seeking program as well as a certificate program are eligible to receive financial aid. Students who are enrolled only in a certificate program as a regular undergraduate student may receive financial aid only if the program has been determined by the Financial Aid Office to be financial aid eligible.

Academic Requirements - The program requirements for approved certificates are specified in the college and department sections of the General Catalog. To be awarded the certificate, the student must maintain a at least a 2.0 GPA in the courses that constitute the certificate. Refer to the specific certificate program description in the colleges and departments sections of the general catalog for detail. Where a minor is required, students may not substitute a certificate without written permission from the college offering the major program. 

Declaration/Change of Certificate Program; Completion - Certificate-seeking students must declare a certificate program using the Declaration/Change of Minor/Certificate form and securing the required signatures; students may change or remove the certificate program in which they are enrolled using the same form.

Students who complete the certificate requirement must complete an application for graduation in MyNEVADA, where a non-refundable $95 graduation fee will post to the student account approximately 24 hours after the application is submitted. Completion of certificates offered for academic credit are noted on the transcript. Documents of completion are prepared by the Office of Admissions and Records and mailed after the graduation term ends.

Approval of New Undergraduate Certificate Programs - Procedures for approval of a new undergraduate certificate program or elimination of an existing undergraduate certificate program are described in sections 6,030; 6,042; and 6,045 and include review by the New Program Pre Proposal Committee, University Courses and Curriculum Committee, and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Departments may not award certificates that have not been approved through the process detailed in these sections.

Review of Undergraduate Certificate Programs - Undergraduate certificate programs, like all other institutional programs, go through regular program review. Typically, this occurs in conjunction with the program review of the academic department or program offering the certificate.